Louisiana Derby Nominees a Who’s Who List of Nation’s Top 3-Year-Olds

Contact: Kevin Kilroy
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  • With Kentucky Derby points on the line, nominees also eligible for the Jan. 20 Lecomte and Feb. 17 Risen Star

New Orleans, La (Jan. 8, 2024) – Early nominations for the 111th running of the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) have been released. Sixty 3-year-olds were nominated, including the current top three and eight of the top 10 on the Road to Kentucky Derby Leaderboard (as of Jan. 8): Fierceness, Locked, Timberlake, Drum Roll Please, Honor Marie, Otto the Conqueror, Catching Freedom, and Track Phantom. Ranking below those division leaders in points but equally as elite are the nominees Nash, Real Men Violin, Informed Patriot, Carbone, and Snead.

Run at 1 3/16 miles, the Louisiana Derby is worth 100-50-25-15-10 points to the top five finishers. It is the fourth and final local prep on the Road to the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) presented by Woodford Reserve to be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4.

All nominees are also eligible for the $200,000 Lecomte (G3) on Jan. 20 and the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 17.

Final nominations for The Louisiana Derby close on Saturday, March 9, 2024 by subscription of $1,000. $5,000 to enter, $5,000 additional to start. Supplemental nominations of $20,000 will be accepted at time of entry which shall include all fees. 

Brad Cox leads all trainers with 19 nominees; Steve Asmussen and Ken McPeek each have nine; Pletcher and Desormeaux, four; Mott, three.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen nominated L and N Racing, Clark Brewster, Jerry Caroom, and Breeze Easy’s Track Phantom. Stepping up from his maiden victory to score in the Gun Runner on Dec. 23, the Quality Road colt has earned 10 points and has not lost going two turns.  

Also nominated by Asmussen: Three Chimneys Farm’s Otto the Conqueror, a three-time winner, including earning 10 points taking the Remington Springboard Mile last out; Judy and Kirk Robinson’s Informed Patriot, who has been stabled at Fair Grounds ahead of his third-place finish in the Smarty Jones; a perfect two-for-two, including stretching out to wire a stout allowance field at Oaklawn on Dec. 31, Corrine and William Heiligbrodt’s Carbone. 

Currently being freshened in preparation for his 3-year-old campaign, the top contender in March’s Louisiana Derby could be Siena Farm and WinStar Farm’s Timberlake. Made the 6th choice in Kentucky Derby Future Pool #2,  the Into Mischief colt ranks third with 16 Kentucky Derby points. Finishing fourth last out in the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), this fall Timberlake won the Champagne Stakes (G1) and ran second in the Hopeful (G1). 

As buzzworthy is Godolphin’s homebred Nash. The third-choice in Future Pool #2 after a dominating performance breaking his maiden at Churchill,  Nash earned 3 points towards the Run for the Roses when finishing third last out in the Gun Runner as the betting favorite. The son of Medaglia d’Oro stabled at Fair Grounds returned to the worktab on Jan. 5 breezing 4 furlongs.  

Smarty Jones-winner Catching Freedom is also nominated by Cox, who reports that Albaugh Family Stables’ son of Constitution will continue training out of his stall at Fair Grounds as connections decide his next start. 

Impressive maiden-winners on the Road to the Derby Day undercard, Cox nominated both Stonestreet Stables’ Ethan Energy and James Schurman’s Mosaico Man.

Trainer Whit Beckman has nominated Ribble Farms’ Honor Marie, who is currently stabled at Fair Grounds. Having earned 10 Road to the Derby points with his first-place finish in the 2023 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), the Honor Code colt returned to the work tab on New Year’s Eve and followed up that 3-furlong drill with a half-mile breeze on Jan. 7. 

The place-finisher to Honor Marie, Tilted Shamrock Stables’ Real Men Violin was nominated for the Louisiana Derby by McPeek. The chestnut colt by Mendelssohn put in his first morning drill since the Kentucky Jockey Club on Jan. 6, breezing three furlongs at Fair Grounds. 

Another top nominee to the Louisiana Derby is Imagine Racing and Margaret Fauber’s Snead, place-finisher in the Gun Runner and trained by Brendan Walsh.

Click here for a list of Louisiana Derby nominees who are also eligible for the January 20 Lecomte (G3) and the February 17 Risen Star (G2); click here for their past performances, courtesy of Equibase.


About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 16 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 152nd Thoroughbred Racing Season–highlighted by the 111th running of the Louisiana Derby–will run from Nov. 17, 2023 through March 24, 2024. More information is available online at www.fgno.com.



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